For those of you who have followed the Metacity journey thus far, we ran into a wall with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office when trying to protect the name Metacity. There’s another company you may have heard of that has a similar name, and very deep pockets. After a lot of thinking, and a thorough trademark search, I changed the name of our project from Metacity to Cityverse. And I love it.
For those of you who are new to Metacity or Cityverse, welcome.
Cityverse is the next evolution of the St. Pete Catalyst, and a leap forward in the local news and content experience.
I started the Catalyst with no journalism experience, but enough earnestness to power all of Mayberry (Google it). While I recognize the duty of the fourth estate, my focus at the time was solving a glaring inefficiency in our city – good ideas weren’t circulating. I believe that when ideas don’t circulate, silos form, division grows and consensus becomes elusive.
Thus the Catalyst is not traditional journalism, it’s something closer to a concept called solutions journalism. We aspire to improve the quality of life in our city by connecting our citizens via news. Our news is meant to be a … wait for it … catalyst for discussion, idea stacking and collaborative solutions.
There are other environments where people come together to stack ideas – namely every social media platform in the world. These platforms have redefined how people connect, but I don’t believe any of them serve our city well.
The grandfather of social media platforms is Facebook, and that’s generally what people think of as the community’s platform. Upon deeper inspection, it’s not. Facebook is the platform for connecting with friends and family. How many of your neighbors are you friends with on Facebook? Typically it’s less than two. Nextdoor built a simple platform to serve neighborhoods, and grew to a $4 billion company because Facebook didn’t adequately serve the neighborhood.
Repeat the process for other platforms, as I have many times, and you’ll find there’s a gap in the market for serving a city. It’s a gap that exists because local newspapers should have innovated to remain the binding force in a community, and they didn’t.
That’s what Cityverse, powered by Catalyst, will do.
In the coming weeks I’ll be taking you along our journey of building Cityverse. We’ve got some powerful partners and investors to announce, as well as some daunting hurdles to overcome. If we are successful, you’ll have experienced the genesis of a transformative platform for cities, inspired by our St. Petersburg.